RUGBY: Bath coach Ford ponders hooker conundrum

Rob Webber's knee injury looks certain to end his season

Rob Webber's knee injury looks certain to end his season

First published in Sport News
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HEAD coach Mike Ford admits the hooker's role is a "problem position'' for him ahead of Bath's potentially season-defining Aviva Premiership clash at Harlequins on Saturday.

Bath could head into the winner-takes-all final regular-season clash at the Stoop with three hookers missing as they chase the victory that would confirm their place in the end-of-season play-offs.

Harlequins can overtake Bath by triumphing and denying the visitors bonus points and Bath have suffered a blow with the news that England hooker Rob Webber is almost certainly out for the season after suffering a knee injury in last Friday's Premiership draw with Northampton.

Ross Batty was also forced off against Saints with a shoulder problem, forcing Nathan Catt into an emergency stint as hooker.

In addition, Bath are waiting on the outcome of a citing hearing this evening for Academy hooker Tom Dunn,  over an incident while playing for London Scottish, for whom he was dual-registered earlier this season.

Webber was forced off with a knee injury during the 19-19 draw, but Ford believes the former Wasps man's season is over, which would also rule him out of England's tour to New Zealand next month.

Webber was only three games into a comeback from an ankle problem which had sidelined him since February and Ford said today: "Rob is having a scan today, but it looks like he is out for the season.''

That means Bath could turn to Argentinian international Eusebio Guinazu who, while vastly experienced, has only made 12 appearances this season. Nineteen year old England U20 hooker Tom Woolstencroft may also be an option

Ford, who will name his side on Thursday, added: "It’s a problem position for us. We’ve got Eusebio Guinazu, who has played for Argentina over 30 times and we’ve got the U20 hooker for England, Tom Woolstencroft

Ford also revealed that the ankle injury sustained by Matt Garvey in the Amlin Challenge Cup semi final against Wasps 12 days ago will also end his season.

But Bath could be boosted by the return from an ankle injury of South African international talisman Francois Louw, who is in contention.

Bath's sell-out trip to Harlequins will be broadcast live on BT Sport on Saturday, teh game kicking off at 3.15pm.

Harlequins have advised all supporters to leave plenty of time for their journey due to the HSBC World 7s series at Twickenham Stadium on the same day.

MORE BATH RUGBY NEWS & REACTION IN FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES

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